France reports 216 Covid clusters, prompting health warning

Woman  puts on face mask. France has reported 216 Covid clusters, prompting a health warning over physical distancing.
Health precautions and physical distancing should still be respected, health authority Santé Publique France has warned as clusters spike.

A total of 216 new Covid-19 “clusters” have been reported in mainland France; and while health authorities say they are mainly “under control”, the spike has prompted a warning that the public must remain vigilant.

A “cluster” is defined as an outbreak of cases in a very localised area, that can be traced back to one specific source.

Health authority Santé Publique France (SPF) confirmed that there had been 216 new clusters identified on June 16, and said that the majority were now “under control”. Of these, eight were discovered in one week.

Some areas are worse-affected than others; in recent days, 30 new cases have been identified in Sarcelles (Val-d’Oise).

Authorities have said that the spike in cases shows that despite continued deconfinement, the public must still remain vigilant to the spread of the virus, and continue to enforce physical distancing and hygiene rules.

The latest figures from SPF (Sunday June 21) show that 81 clusters are currently under investigation, one more than in the previous 24 hours. There are currently 9,823 patients in hospital for Covid-19-related causes, including 715 in intensive care. There were seven hospital deaths in the 24 hours previous.

 

Global spikes

France is not the only country to have seen a resurgence of cases in the past week: in Germany, at the largest abattoir in Europe, 70% of staff have tested positive - the largest cluster in the country. Further spikes have been recorded in Beijing, and Wuhan in China - the original source of the epidemic.

Similarly, India has re-introduced partial confinement measures in Chennai and New Delhi after 400 people died in a 24-hour period and 10,000 new cases were reported.

The update in France comes as the country continues its deconfinement plans.

Today, phase three will see the reopening of cinemas, stadiums and exhibition halls - with physical distancing measures in place.

Read more: France deconfinement: What opens June 22, in July and beyond

Yet - despite the country’s top scientific advisor, Professor Jean-François Delfraissy, saying in early June that the epidemic was “under control” in France - health experts have always warned of the possibility of a “second wave” in Covid-19 infections as confinement measures are lifted.

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